I was shocked to read media reports of a 14-year old boy jumping off a building in Mumbai.
The suicide was attributed to a new underground vicious online challenge making in-roads globally into our homes and inciting teenagers to prove their place in the society today through dangerous and manipulative mind games and challenges.
The final objective of the Blue Whale Challenge is the exhibition of courage to take one’s own life.
After Mumbai, two more deaths attributed to Blue Whale Challenge were reported in Kerala.
Despite the Centre calling for a ban on the Blue Whale Challenge in the country that is allegedly leading teenagers to commit suicide globally with India experiencing the death of 14-year old boy from Mumbai, experts that I have spoken to tracking this strange online phenomenon opine that a ban on websites will not able to stop the Blue Whale Challenge.
The Challenge is not a game that can be downloaded on a phone or a website and therefore banned; there is no application or one specific website for the challenge, it can’t really be banned – not unless you completely ban the internet. Blue Whale Challenge curators identity and track their targets on social media or online websites and then approach them to be a part of the Blue Whale Challenge.
Some media reports say that participants are required to send photos to a “curator” or a “whale” proving they did the tasks. The “whale” is often an older person who is manipulating them and does not do the tasks themselves.
All downloads for Blue Whale led to children’s games that require an animated whale to cross various barriers.
But the deadly Blue Whale is a 50-day-challenge, which is believed to have originated in Russia and claimed over 130 lives across Russia and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where it is said to be trending.
Here is a list of some the challenges put forth to a teenager accepting the Blue Whale Challenge:
– Carve a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm.
– Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and watch a scary video (sent by the curator.)
– Make lengthwise cuts on the person’s own arm.
– Draw a whale on a piece of paper
– Write “yes” on the person’s own leg if ready to be a whale. Otherwise, they should cut themselves multiple times.
– Secret task (written in code.)
– Scratch (a message) on the person’s own arm.
– Write a status online about being a whale.
– Overcome a fear.
– Get up at 4:20 and go to the roof.
– Carve a whale on the person’s own hand.
– Watch scary videos all day.
– Listen to music the “curator” sends.
– Cut your lip.
– Poke the person’s own arm/hand with a needle.
– Make yourself hurt or sick.
– Go to a roof and stand on the edge.
– Stand on a bridge.
– Climb a crane.
At this step, the “curator” somehow checks to see if the participant is trustworthy.
– Talk with a “whale” on Skype.
– Sit down on a roof with legs dangling over the edge.
– Another job that is in code.
– A secret mission
– Meet with a “whale.”
– The “curator” assigns a date that the person will die.
– Visit a railroad.
– Do not talk with anyone all day.
– Give an oath/vow about being a whale
After these steps, steps 30-49 involve watching horror movies and listening to music that the curator picks, talking to a whale, and making cuts. The last task is jumping off a building.
Investigators in the West are hoping to zero in on the people behind the game. So far globally 130 teenagers have reportedly committed suicide because of the Blue Whale Challenge.
One of its founders is believed to be a 22-year-old Russian, Filipp Budeikin, who was arrested last November for allegedly inciting teenagers to take their lives.He had reportedly said the challenge aimed at “cleansing society” by eliminating “people who are worthless”.